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Case TitleCENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY v. UNITED OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT
DistrictDistrict of Columbia
CityWashington, DC
Case Number1:2004cv01274
Date Filed2004-07-29
Date Closed2007-01-31
JudgeJudge Gladys Kessler
PlaintiffCENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY
DefendantUNITED OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT
Documents
Docket
Complaint
Opinion/Order [37]
FOIA Project Annotation: In an extraordinarily cursory opinion considering how important an issue was before her, Judge Gladys Kessler has ruled that much of the personally identifiable information in OPM's database of federal employees is protected by Exemption 6 (invasion of privacy). The Center for Public Integrity requested access to OPM's database of federal employees. OPM responded by withholding social security numbers; names and duty stations of federal employees in "sensitive occupations;" names and duty stations of all employees of DEA, BATF, the U.S. Mint, the Secret Services, and the Customs Service; and all information regarding employees of the Defense Department. CPI then sued. Kessler first rejected the organization's public interest claims, which consisted of being able to use the database to track down individual employees who might have conflicts of interest or be unsuitable for federal employment. Kessler agreed with OPM, however, that "'the link between the [information Plaintiff seeks] and the potential illumination of agency action is too attenuated.'" She also noted that CPI had failed to show evidence of any possible misconduct and that its claims contained only a "'bare suspicion' of wrongdoing." Turning to the privacy interest, Kessler quoted from the Supreme Court's decision in Dept of Defense v. FLRA, 510 U.S. 487 (1994), indicating that "'because a very slight privacy interest would suffice to outweigh the relevant public interest [the Court] need not be exact in [its] quantification of the privacy interest. It is enough for present purposes to observe that the employees' interest in nondisclosure is not insubstantial.'" With this balance in mind, Kessler observed that "because the privacy interest of the federal employees at issue in this case in the nondisclosure of their names and duty stations outweighs the minimal FOIA-related public disclosure, the Court concludes that disclosure would constitute a 'clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.'" This conclusion ignores years of past policy providing for public access to federal employee information and begs the real question " what exactly is so private about the fact that an individual works for the federal government?" Even a judge as conservative as Michael Luttig raised this question in dissent in a Fourth Circuit opinion involving access to IRS records. Changing times may require some change in policy to protect individuals who are in dangerous or sensitive positions, but the new OPM policy sweeps in employees whose right to privacy seems suspect at best. Such a policy leads inevitably to a kind of anonymous government that is repugnant to an open society.
Issues: Exemption 6 - Invasion of privacy
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2004-07-291COMPLAINT against UNITED OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT (Filing fee $ 150.) filed by CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY.(rje, ) (Entered: 07/30/2004)
2004-07-292LCvR 7.1 - CERTIFICATE OF DISCLOSURE of Corporate Affiliations and Financial Interests by CENTER NEWBATT SMITH (rje, ) (Entered: 07/30/2004)
2004-07-29SUMMONS (3) Issued as to UNITED OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General (rje, ) (Entered: 07/30/2004)
2004-08-053SUMMONS Returned Executed by CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY. UNITED OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT served on 7/29/2004, answer due 8/30/2004. (Smith, Peter) (Entered: 08/05/2004)
2004-08-264MOTION for Extension of Time to Respond to Complaint by UNITED OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Strand, Stratton) (Entered: 08/26/2004)
2004-08-275Memorandum in opposition to motion re 4 Enlargement of Time to Respond to Complaint filed by CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Smith, Peter) (Entered: 08/27/2004)
2004-08-31MINUTE ORDER granting 4 Defendant's MOTION for Extension of Time to Respond to Complaint by UNITED OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT. Defendant shall have until Wednesday, September 29, 2004, to answer, move, or otherwise plead to the complaint. Signed by Judge Gladys Kessler on 8/31/04. (lcgk1, ) (Entered: 08/31/2004)
2004-09-296NOTICE of Appearance by Nicholas J. Patterson on behalf of UNITED OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT (Patterson, Nicholas) (Entered: 09/29/2004)
2004-09-297ANSWER to Complaint by UNITED OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT.(Patterson, Nicholas) (Entered: 09/29/2004)
2004-09-308ORDER Initial Scheduling Conference set for 10/29/2004 12:00 PM in Jury Room before Judge Gladys Kessler. Signed by Judge Gladys Kessler on 9/30/04. (CS, ) (Entered: 09/30/2004)
2004-09-309STANDING ORDER on Electronic Case Filing . Signed by Judge Gladys Kessler on 9/30/04. (CS, ) (Entered: 09/30/2004)
2004-09-30MINUTE ENTRY: The Initial Scheduling Conference scheduled for October 29, 2004 at 12:00 p.m. will be held in Courtroom 19, not the jury room . Signed by Judge Gladys Kessler on 9/30/04. (CS, ) (Entered: 09/30/2004)
2004-10-2110STATUS REPORT by UNITED OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Patterson, Nicholas) (Entered: 10/21/2004)
2004-10-26MINUTE ORDER: It is hereby ORDERED that the Initial Scheduling Conference scheduled for Friday, October 29, 2004 at 12:00pm is CANCELLED. Signed by Judge Gladys Kessler on 10/26/04. (CS, ) (Entered: 10/26/2004)
2004-10-2611SCHEDULING ORDER: Dispositive Motions due by 2/7/2005. Response to Dispositive Motions due by 3/7/2005. Reply to Dispositive Motions due by 4/4/2005.If this case is not fully disposed of by summary judgment, the parties shall move the Court for a further scheduling order. Signed by Judge Gladys Kessler on 10/26/04. (CS, ) (Entered: 10/26/2004)
2004-10-26Set/Reset Deadlines: Dispositive Motions due by 2/7/2005. Response to Dispositive Motions due by 3/7/2005. Reply to Dispositive Motions due by 4/4/2005. (tth, ) (Entered: 10/27/2004)
2004-11-0512MOTION for Judgment on the Pleadings by CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Smith, Peter) (Entered: 11/05/2004)
2004-11-1913RESPONSE to Plaintiff's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings filed by UNITED OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT. (Patterson, Nicholas) (Entered: 11/19/2004)
2004-12-0214REPLY to opposition to motion re 12 Judgment on the Pleadings filed by CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY. (Smith, Peter) (Entered: 12/02/2004)
2004-12-1415ORDER denying 12 Plaintiff's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings . Signed by Judge Gladys Kessler on 12/14/04. (CS, ) (Entered: 12/14/2004)
2004-12-1416MEMORANDUM OPINION on Plaintiff's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. Signed by Judge Gladys Kessler on 12/14/04. (CS, ) (Entered: 12/14/2004)
2005-02-0717MOTION for Summary Judgment by UNITED OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT. (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Defendant U.S. Office of Personnel Management's Motion for Summary Judgment# 2 Exhibit A (Lukowski Declaration)# 3 Declaration Exhibit A# 4 Declaration Exhibit B# 5 Declaration Exhibit C# 6 Declaration Exhibit D# 7 Declaration Exhibit E# 8 Declaration Exhibit F# 9 Exhibit B (Vaughn Index)# 10 Statement of Material Facts as to Which There is No Genuine Issue# 11 Text of Proposed Order)(Patterson, Nicholas) (Entered: 02/07/2005)
2005-03-0718ENTERED IN ERROR.....Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment by CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY. (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum# 2 statement of material facts# 3 Text of Proposed Order)(Smith, Peter) Modified on 3/8/2005 (rje, ). (Entered: 03/07/2005)
2005-03-08NOTICE OF CORRECTED DOCKET ENTRY. Document No. 18 was entered in error as the filing was not complete and counsel was instructed to refile said pleading after corrections are made. (rje, ) (Entered: 03/08/2005)
2005-03-0819Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment by CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Smith, Peter) (Entered: 03/08/2005)
2005-03-0820Memorandum in opposition to motion re 17 Summary Judgment filed by CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY. (Smith, Peter) (Entered: 03/08/2005)
2005-04-0121Unopposed MOTION for Extension of Time to File Reply and Opposition by UNITED OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT. (Patterson, Nicholas) (Entered: 04/01/2005)
2005-04-04MINUTE ORDER granting 21 Defendant's Unopposed Motion for Extension of Time; Defendant shall have an extension of seven (7) days to file its reply and opposition, or up to and including April 11, 2005. Signed by Judge Gladys Kessler on 4/4/05. (CS, ) (Entered: 04/04/2005)
2005-04-1122Unopposed MOTION for Extension of Time to File Reply and Opposition by UNITED OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Patterson, Nicholas) (Entered: 04/11/2005)
2005-04-12MINUTE ORDER granting 22 Defendant's Unopposed Motion for Extension of Time; Defendant shall have up to and including April 18, 2005 in which to file its Reply and Opposition; Plaintiff shall have up to and including May 9, 2005 in which to file its reply . Signed by Judge Gladys Kessler on 4/12/05. (CS, ) (Entered: 04/12/2005)
2005-04-1823Memorandum in opposition to motion re 19 Plaintiff's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment and Reply to Plaintiff's Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment filed by UNITED OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT. (Attachments: # 1 Supplemental Declaration# 2 Exhibit A)(Patterson, Nicholas) (Entered: 04/18/2005)
2005-04-1824REPLY to opposition to motion re 17 Defendant's Opposition to Plaintiff's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment and Reply to Plaintiff's Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (same document as dkt. no. 23) filed by UNITED OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT. (Attachments: # 1 Supplemental Declaration# 2 Exhibit A)(Patterson, Nicholas) (Entered: 04/18/2005)
2005-04-2625MOTION for Summary Judgment for U.S. Department of Defense Information by UNITED OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT. (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Defendant U.S. Office of Personnel Management's Motion for Summary Judgment for U.S. Department of Defense Information# 2 Declaration# 3 Declaration Exhibit 1# 4 Declaration Exhibit 2# 5 Declaration Exhibit 3# 6 Declaration Exhibit 4# 7 Declaration Exhibit 5# 8 Statement of Facts # 9 Text of Proposed Order)(Patterson, Nicholas) (Entered: 04/26/2005)
2005-05-0926REPLY to opposition to motion re 19 cross-motion for summary judgment filed by CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY. (Smith, Peter) (Entered: 05/09/2005)
2005-05-1027Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment for U.S. Department of Defense Information by CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Smith, Peter) (Entered: 05/10/2005)
2005-05-1028Memorandum in opposition to motion re 25 defendant's 2nd motion for summary judgment filed by CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY. (Smith, Peter) (Entered: 05/10/2005)
2005-05-1029MOTION to Strike 25 MOTION for Summary Judgment for U.S. Department of Defense Information by CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY. (Smith, Peter) (Entered: 05/10/2005)
2005-05-1930Unopposed MOTION for Extension of Time to File Reply by UNITED OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Patterson, Nicholas) (Entered: 05/19/2005)
2005-05-24MINUTE ORDER granting 30 Defendant's Unopposed Motion for Extension of Time; Defendant's reply and opposition shall be due on or before May 24, 2005 and Plaintiff's reply shall be due on or before June 6, 2005 . Signed by Judge Gladys Kessler on 5/24/05. (CS, ) (Entered: 05/24/2005)
2005-05-2431Memorandum in opposition to motion re 27 Plaintiff's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment for U.S. Department of Defense Information filed by UNITED OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT. (Attachments: # 1 Declaration of Becky C. Kumar)(Patterson, Nicholas) (Entered: 05/24/2005)
2005-05-2432REPLY to opposition to motion re 25 Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (same document as dkt. no. 31) filed by UNITED OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT. (Attachments: # 1 Declaration of Becky C. Kumar)(Patterson, Nicholas) (Entered: 05/24/2005)
2005-05-2433Memorandum in opposition to motion re 29 Plaintiff's Motion to Strike (same document as dkt. nos. 31 and 32) filed by UNITED OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT. (Attachments: # 1 Declaration of Becky C. Kumar)(Patterson, Nicholas) (Entered: 05/24/2005)
2005-06-0634REPLY to opposition to motion re 27 cross-motion for summary judgment (Department of Defense information) filed by CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY. (Smith, Peter) (Entered: 06/06/2005)
2005-06-0635REPLY to opposition to motion re 29 motion to strike (This reply is a duplicate of docket no. 34) filed by CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY. (Smith, Peter) (Entered: 06/06/2005)
2006-12-0436ORDER granting 17 OPM's Motion for Summary Judgment for Non-DoD Information, denying 19 Plaintiff's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment for Non-DoD Information, granting 25 OPM's Motion for Summary Judgment for DoD Information, denying 27 Plaintiff's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment for DoD Information, and denying 29 Plaintiff's Motion to Strike . Signed by Judge Gladys Kessler on 12/4/06. (CS, ) (Entered: 12/04/2006)
2006-12-0437MEMORANDUM OPINION to the Motions and Cross-Motions for Summary Judgment and Plaintiff's Motion to Strike. Signed by Judge Gladys Kessler on 12/4/06. (CS, ) (Entered: 12/04/2006)
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by FOIA Project Staff